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Bruce Gordon, Director of Communications
Megan Leonard  651-201-7566
May 10, 2021
New Online Document Pre-Verification Will Help Minnesotans Get Their REAL ID Faster
Optional Online Document Pre-Verification Available When Minnesotans Pre-Apply Online

ST. PAUL —Minnesotans now have until May 3, 2023, to be REAL ID ready, but many will decide whether to apply for a REAL ID or enhanced driver’s license or ID (EDL/EID) when they renew their driver’s license or ID card in the coming months. 

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services division (DPS-DVS) encourages Minnesotans to take advantage of online tools at drive.mn.gov to help with the decision-making and application process. 

  • Use the online Help Me Choose tool to select the best license or ID type for their needs. 
  • Pre-apply online to save time during the office visit.
  • Those who choose to apply for a REAL ID or EDL/EID now have the option to submit their required documents online for pre-verification before they visit an office.

Pre-verification saves trips to a DL office
DPS-DVS launched the online pre-verification tool March 29, to help reduce repeat office visits and reduce processing times for REAL ID and EDL/EID card applications. As of April 28, 7,136 Minnesotans have applied for document pre-verification. On average, Minnesotans who successfully pre-verify documents receive their driver’s license or ID card in seven to ten business days.

“We want Minnesotans to successfully apply for a REAL ID during their first office visit and not have to make repeat trips,” Driver and Vehicle Services Director Emma Corrie said. “Applying for a REAL ID requires additional documentation, and the process has often led to customers needing to go home, get additional documents and return for a second visit. Pre-applying and pre-verifying documents can prevent this from happening.”

Federal REAL ID deadline extended
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security extended the REAL ID full enforcement deadline to May 3, 2023. The deadline was previously set for later this year.

Beginning May 3, 2023, Minnesotans will not be able to use their standard driver’s license or ID card to board domestic flights or enter federal facilities. Instead, they will need one of three options:
  1. A passport or passport card.
  2. A REAL ID.
  3. An enhanced driver’s license or ID.

The Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) lists several other less-common forms of identification that are also acceptable for federal purposes. 

A REAL ID is optional. Minnesotans may apply for a REAL ID when they renew their license or ID card.

Pre-Verification Process
Eligible Minnesotan may pre-verify their documents while pre-applying online at drive.mn.gov. Participation is optional. 
  1. Those who choose to participate will upload clear, high quality images of the documents they select during their pre-application. 
  2. DPS-DVS will review the uploaded documents within three business days and send an email confirming the documents are pre-verified. DPS-DVS will send an email with details and next steps if there are issues with any of the uploaded documents.
  3. The eligible Minnesotan will receive the pre-verification notification, and then bring the original documents to their local office to complete their REAL ID or EDL/EID application.

To participate, Minnesotans: 
  • Must be 18 or older.
  • Must have a Minnesota driver’s license or number.
  • Must provide their Social Security number during the pre-application.
  • Must have a verified address on record with DPS-DVS or select to do an address change and provide a new address.

Minnesotans who are renewing an EDL/EID or REAL ID are not eligible for pre-verification and are only required to bring documents when renewing if they are changing their name or address. 

Federal and Minnesota laws require a person to submit their original required documents, pass a vision screening and have a new photo taken to complete their application at a DVS exam station or driver’s license office.

Minnesotans can still use the pre-application feature if they choose not to use the pre-verification tool. DPS-DVS strongly encourages anyone who is renewing or applying for a driver’s license or ID card to pre-apply online at drive.mn.gov. This feature allows Minnesotans to enter a significant portion of their application online, reducing the time they spend in the office. It also lists the required documents for each license type so applicants can have all necessary documents ready when they visit their local office.

Pre-verification Statistics 
Since its launch March 29, 7,136 Minnesotans participated in pre-verification. This includes: 
  • 4,243 pre-verifications for EDL/EID applications.
  • 2,893 pre-verifications for REAL ID applications.

DPS-DVS approved 2,715 of the applications submitted for pre-verification.

  • 1,131 pre-verifications for EDL/EID applications.
  • 1,584 pre-verifications for REAL ID applications.

U.S. Passports
Passports and passport cards meet federal identification requirements, so Minnesotans who already have passports do not need to apply for a REAL ID or enhanced driver’s license. They can simply use their passport of passport card to board domestic flights and enter federal facilities on and after May 3, 2021. 

The U.S. Department of State reported 143,116,633 valid U.S. passports in circulation in 2020. Minnesotans were issued 231,885 U.S. passports last year alone.  

REAL ID Airport Office
The REAL ID Airport Office accepts REAL ID applications Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. by appointment only. Minnesotans can schedule their appointment for the day they fly out of MSP Terminal 1 online at drive.mn.gov. They must:
  • Be a ticketed passenger at MSP Terminal 1 for the day they schedule their appointment.
  • Be a current Minnesota resident. 
  • Hold and bring a valid Minnesota driver’s license, permit or state ID. If expired, it must have expired less than one year ago.
  • Complete the online pre-application. Visit REALID.dps.mn.gov to pre-apply.
  • Be eligible for a REAL ID and bring all required documents
  • Bring a valid credit card for payment. 

REAL ID Required Documents
Minnesotans are required to provide additional documentation when applying for a REAL ID, compared to a standard driver’s license or ID card.

A person must provide the following in person when applying:
  • One document proving identity, date of birth and legal presence in the United States.
    • If the name on the identity document is not the same as a person's current name, a name change document must be submitted.
  • One document proving social security number.
    • If you have not updated your name change with the Social Security Administration, you must do so prior to applying for a Real ID.
  • Two different documents proving current residency in Minnesota. 
    • ​Must have applicant’s current legal name and current address in Minnesota. A P.O. Box will not suffice as proof of current residency in Minnesota.

Applicants must provide original documents or documents certified by the agency that issued them. DPS-DVS cannot accept laminated documents or digital documents shown on your phone or other electronic device. A full list of accepted documentation is on the REAL ID website

REAL ID Scoreboard
As of May 1, there are a total of: 
  • 679,887 Minnesota REAL ID driver’s license and ID card holders. 
  • 446,229 Minnesota enhanced driver’s license and ID card holders. 
  • 3,560,803 Minnesota standard driver’s license and ID card holders.

That brings the total number of Minnesotans who are REAL ID ready to 1,126,116 or 24.03 percent of Minnesota driver’s license and identification card holders. That’s up from:
  • 23.28 percent on March 31, 2021.
  • 21.46 percent on Feb. 28, 2021.
  • 20.74 percent on Jan. 31, 2021.
  • 20.16 percent on Dec. 31, 2020.
  • 19.56 percent on Nov. 30, 2020.
  • 18.37 percent on Sept. 30, 2020.
  • 16.76 percent on July 31, 2020.
  • 15.08 percent on May 31, 2020.
  • 14.96 percent on March 31, 2020.
  • 10.72 percent on Jan. 1, 2020.
  • 8.91 percent on Nov. 1, 2019.
  • 7.8 percent on Sept. 27, 2019.
Track Minnesota’s progress online at REALID.dps.mn.gov.  

When will I receive my REAL ID or EDL/EID?
DPS-DVS is working to process all driver’s license and ID card applications as quickly as possible. Here are the processing dates as of May 5:
  • Standard licenses and ID cards: 
    • DVS is currently processing standard applications from April 9.
  • REAL ID-compliant licenses and ID cards: 
    • DVS is currently processing REAL ID applications from April 12.
  • Enhanced Driver’s Licenses and ID cards: 
    • ​DVS is currently processing Enhanced applications from April 9.

Enhanced driver’s license or ID (EDL/EID)
State Enhanced Driver's Licenses (EDLs) are REAL ID-compliant and are acceptable for official federal purposes such as accessing a federal facility or boarding commercial aircraft. They are also designated as acceptable border-crossing documents by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and can be used to travel by land or sea to Mexico, Canada and some Caribbean countries. Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Vermont, and Washington are the only states that currently issue EDLs.
Minnesotans who have an enhanced driver’s license or ID (EDL/EID) can continue to use it to board domestic flights or enter federal facilities after May 3, 2023. EDL/EIDs issued on and after Nov. 16, 2020, have a gold star on the top right corner of the card to indicate they are federally accepted forms of identification.

More information about EDLs and EIDs is on the REAL ID website

What is the federal REAL ID Act?
Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act establishes minimum security standards for state-issued driver's licenses and ID cards. The Act refers to federal anti-terrorism laws and regulations that control access to: 
Federally regulated commercial aircraft.
Federal facilities requiring identification to enter, such as military bases or nuclear power facilities.

For more information on acceptable forms of identification for boarding aircraft, please see TSA’s website. Please check with individual federal facilities regarding their requirements. 

Information from the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security:

How to stay updated
Find Minnesota REAL ID information and resources at the state’s website: REALID.dps.mn.gov.

The DPS-DVS Facebook page and Twitter page have information that can easily be shared.

How to get help
  • For driver services questions (licenses, ID cards, driver compliance and exams), visit the DVS website and submit questions using the driver services contact forms
  • For vehicle services questions (ownership transfers, titles, liens and vehicle registration) visit the DVS website and submit questions using the vehicle services contact forms.​

About the Minnesota Department Public Safety
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) comprises 11 divisions where 2,200 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS activity is anchored by three core principles: education, enforcement and prevention.

About Driver and Vehicle Services
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services division (DVS) is responsible for driver testing, driver licensing and maintenance of driver records; driver evaluation and compliance; motor vehicle title and registration; commercial vehicle registration; motor vehicle dealer licensing and regulation; and enforcement of no-fault insurance requirements.

2020 statistics: 
  • 1.5 million driver’s license and ID cards issued.
  • 1.6 million titles issued.
  • 7.1 million vehicles registered.
  • DVS’ Public Information Center handled more than 1 million phone calls and 300,300 email correspondences.

445 Minnesota Street, Suite 100 | Saint Paul, Minnesota 55101-5155 | dps.mn.gov